Lunch with a legend

Photo of Alice Waters

How has legendary chef and pioneer of the local, organic food movement Alice Waters achieved so much? That's the question we posed to her during a recent lunch at Chez Panisse, her renowned restaurant in Berkeley. Alice's answer? You have to want it all. Take an uncompromising approach and don't settle for anything less.

What a refreshing and energizing approach. I'm pretty sure Daniel Press, professor of environmental studies and director of our Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, had the same reaction when he heard those words. We were lunching with this legend thanks to an invitation prompted by campus friends Alec and Claudia Webster, great champions of the Center's work and UCSC's leadership in sustainable agriculture, who joined us, along with Daniel's wife Sarah.

Alice knows a lot about UCSC's work – she has hired a number of graduates of our Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture over the years -- and she is eager to learn more. We hope to get her down for a visit this fall. Among her passions is a desire to improve the quality of school lunches, building on the success of her Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley. She appreciates UC's commitment to buying produce from local organic farms and seemed to recognize UCSC as a kindred spirit in many ways.

All in all, it was quite a treat. And the goat cheese, nettle pizza? Outstanding!

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